Under attack but still standing

A LANARKSHIRE priest told his congregation this weekend that Catholicism was under attack and, at times like these, it was good to remember the slings and arrows the early Church faced and survived and draw strength from that.

There is no doubt that today the Church is being attacked from all sides, by ‘foe’ and supposed friend alike. In spite of the fact that the abhorrent and intolerable clerical abuse problem thankfully involves a very small percentage of priests and directly affects a small number of Catholics it is frequently reported as a ‘widespread crisis’ incorrectly suggesting is it inherent in the Church.

The abuse issue is also being used to cast a shadow over and undermine the pending Papal visit to the UK.

Scottish composer James MacMillan told Time magazine that he believes hostility toward the Pope’s visit reveals that pockets of anti-Catholicism still exist in Britain.

“There is still knee-jerk anti-Catholic venom in the corridors of power,” Mr MacMillan says. “The hysteria being whipped up has shocked a lot of people.”

This has been compounded by recent howlers. Following the leaked foolish memo suggesting Pope Benedict XVI should open an abortion clinic, bless a homosexual marriage and launch his own range of condoms while visiting Britain, the Foreign Office has wisely appointed George Edgar, a former ambassador, to bring his experience and diplomacy to the planning of the Papal visit.

However, calls to turn the Holy Father’s trip to Scotland and England into a pastoral visit only play right into the hands of those who would like nothing better than for this visit to be reduced in status and, by inference, importance. This would also satisfy their petty wish for the Church alone to pick up the bill.

Some attacks on Catholicism are more subtle. As the general election looms, a letter this week to the SCO highlights the dangers to Catholic education of a hung parliament in which the Liberal Democrats hold the balance of power.

“‘Schools in receipt of state funding may be run by faith groups but not for faith groups.’ This is the basis of the Lib Dem approach to faith schools and anybody with a modicum of intelligence can see that no such schools could in any meaningful sense be called Catholic…. So, anybody who wants to ensure a Catholic education for the children of Catholic parents should be very wary of voting Liberal Democrats,” it reads.

There is clear and present danger today facing the Church and Catholic values and the key is to be aware of it, to question it and, when necessary, to challenge it.

To read more on the Time article visit: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1986164,00.html#ixzz0mqvoPRxu


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